Arkansas Politics Blog

The cover of the book Arkansas/Arkansaw by Brooks Blevins (2009).
Univ. of Arkansas Press

This week Governor Asa Hutchinson rolled out another tool in his Arkansas boosterism arsenal unveiling the branding campaign "Arkansas Inc." He has about 180 years of a contradictory image to compete with but he intends to join former governors Charles Brough (champion of the early Wonder State moniker) and Winthrop Rockefeller in trying to do so.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told thousands in Arkansas Wednesday night that the Clintons have abandoned their home state. Trump also further laid out claims Texas Senator Ted Cruz stole the Iowa caucus. 

“Give it up, for your next president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump! Yes! Yes! Yes!," shouted Trump's opening hype man Jonathan Conneely, the founder of a fitness regime for first responders who calls himself Coach JC.

Lt. Gov Tim Griffin (R-Ark) outside his office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is out of the Republican presidential primary and now his many endorsements from home-state officials are up for grabs before the March 1 Arkansas primary.

Huckabee came in 9th at the Iowa caucus with 1.8 percent of the vote. Is it too early to pick through the bones of Huckabee’s failed bid? For what it’s worth...

Most of his supporter list said it’s premature to endorse a new candidate. But Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, while withholding a formal endorsement, heaped praise upon Marco Rubio during an interview with KUAR.

US Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

We'll find out in a few hours just how premature it is to be considering Hillary Clinton's VP but one heavily-speculated about candidate's brother is headlining a campaign kick-off for two northwest Arkansas legislative candidates a few days after the Arkansas primary.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in August supporting his computer coding initiative.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

It’s a connection that hasn't been made explicitly by the governor but the push for computer coding education in Arkansas has a bit of a parallel in Washington D.C.

Governor Asa Hutchinson has touted his belief in computer coding from the campaign trail in Arkansas to gubernatorial boosterism tours of New York and California. This week President Barack Obama used his weekly address to do the same.

Arkansas AFL-CIO logo.
Arkansas AFL-CIO

A long-running contract between the Arkansas AFL-CIO and the state Department of Workforce Services to assist dislocated workers officially expires on Sunday. The department is taking the work in-house and projecting it will save $100,000 annually. Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes doesn’t doubt the state will be capable of continuing the work but said the contract loss has some political underpinnings.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman spoke with Hughes about the contract and role of organized labor in Republican Arkansas.

File photo: LRSD Superintendent Baker Kurrus, Democrat Gazette publisher and charter advocate Walter Hussman, and Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Wednesday that 150 Teach for America positions will be funded by $3 million dollars over three years from his discretionary funds. Another $3 million in private donations will fund 65 positions in Little Rock schools.

Cecile Blucker Director of Children and Family Services at the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Cecile Blucker, director of Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services, is resigning effective March 31. She has served in the role since 2009.

In an e-mail to staff, she said she wants to spend more time with family.

"As change is inevitable in all phases of our life, it is time for me to focus more and spend more time with those I love."

Her resignation letter to staff said despite "adverse situations - lack of funding, staff, etc." she is proud of the division's accomplishments.

Arkansas Sheriffs' Association Logo.
Arkansas Sheriffs' Association.

The race for U.S. Senate in Arkansas played out Monday at the Winter Conference of the state Sheriffs’ Association with incumbent Republican John Boozman and Democrat Conner Eldridge seeing close to eye to eye on mandatory sentencing laws. The two glad-handed and worked a room at the Marriott hotel in downtown Little Rock.

Eldridge, a former US Attorney, told KUAR some mandatory minimums may warrant re-evaluation.

The US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that all juveniles serving mandatory life sentences without parole, of which Arkansas has over 50, can challenge their punishment. In 2012 the nation’s highest court banned the future implementation of such sentences but did not apply it retroactively. However, last summer the Supreme Court of Arkansas did just that and 57 cases are under review.